The stewards could have put the boots into jockey Peter Knuckey but instead the capable hoop walked away with a $500 fine after an unusual incident at the barrier before the second race.

Racing patrons got Knuckey’s life story from race caller Richard Bell, including his prowess as a runner in the City to Surf Marathon ( he apparently beat Richie one year by a couple of lengths and ‘Ding Dong’ has obviously never forgotten it or their respective times).

Richie’s enthusiastic commentary (he loves his job and it shows) on ‘The Knuck’ before the delayed start of the second included a running commentary on the saga of Knuckey’s boots.

Less entertaining for the jockey was fronting the stewards a bit later.

As Chief Steward, Brad Lewis, reminded the jockey, it could have been a lot worse with a heavy fine, or suspension if the race had been run and Final Cut had carried a far more substantial weight than allocated (and the jockey has only just come back from a race riding infringement suspension).

So what happened?

Before the second race Knuckey wearing his light boots weighed out to ride Final Cut (a galloper that ultimately finished a good second behind Excelorada).

Knuckey then put his heavy boots on and weighed out for a later ride on Fair Hunter (a galloper that went on to win his fifth race on the trot). These boots are 2.2 Kg heavier than his light boots.

Clearly he should have got back into his lighter boots to ride Final Cut something he realised at the barrier.

This delayed the start, impacted on Sky Racing programming and Belmont losing the TV spot all of which the Chief Steward reminded the senior jockey about subsequently.

Knuckey didn’t hesitate to plead guilty and the stewards noted that his actions were not intentional and had not happened before but nevertheless imposed a $500 fine under ARR 118(a), dealing with making changes after a rider has weighed out.

It will be interesting to see what stewards do about early weigh-outs over the longer term. However, it turned out being a pretty good day at the office for PK and he ended up as popular as the chewing gum by, pardon the pun, booting home (get used to boot jokes Pete) a winning treble for punters with Fair Hunter, Cavallo Pazzo and Platinum Rocker.

Cavallo Pazzo’s win in the Goodwood Sprint added a second feature win to the Ted Martinovich trained galloper as he had won the Newmarket for Kyra Yuill a fortnight ago (when PK was suspended).

As for the other two Knuckey winners they were for a couple of blokes called Miller – an everlasting name for success in the world of racing.

Fair Hunter is the gift that keeps on giving for trainer Jason Miller.

He has won all five races this preparation and his win over The Corporation was a spirited duel. Miller has taken over the mantle of stayers champ from Adam Durrant – and he happens to be foreman of that trainer’s stable in addition to his own training role.

Fair Hunter may well be a prospect for the summer carnival but if so will need a let-up and soon.

As for the other Miller (Simon), he happens to be the most prominent of the breed and Grey Cheval (Pat Carbery) and Platinum Rocker gave him a back-to- back double.

Miller paid only $9000 for the good looking grey filly and she has won at her only two starts.

She was gone for all money when Jespatim headed her but the 4.5kg weight differential perhaps saw that galloper just fail to sustain the run and Grey Cheval, with a pull in the weights, fought back along the rails to score narrowly.

However, Jespatim’s trainer, David Harrison, said that he erred in not taking blinkers off the second placegetter and it was this that cost Jespatim the race as he thought he had done the job after he had hit the front and didn’t see the danger.

Wolfe said that Kalahaar was only 85per cent when he had had his only failure at his last start something that the trainer rectified enabling the talented galloper to score his fourth win from only five starts.

Confession is good for the soul if not the punters pockets!

25 August 2012

John Elsegood